Sidmouth maintained their lead at the top of the league with a 29-0 bonus point victory over Chard in increasingly difficulty conditions and despite severe problems in the lineout, where they only made three clean catches in the whole game, writes Terry O’Brien.

The game did not start well for the Chiefs, as they conceded three penalties in the opening four minutes, which had them defending deep inside their own 22 for the first ten minutes.

When they broke out, they did so in style to open the scoring. Tom Hodge’s break from his own half created a try for Haydon Down in the left corner.

When the Chard full back was yellow carded, the Chiefs benefitted from their extra man to score a second try when Shaun Malton crashed over from close range after the ball had been advanced to the line through several phases. Jake Allen added the conversion.

The Chiefs were soon back on the attack and a well-judged diagonal kick by Phil Dollman was well fielded by Sam Heathcote to score in the right corner. Jake Allen converted and soon increased the score with a penalty.

With half-time approaching, Rory O’Brien secured the bonus point when Shaun Malton set him up from a quick tap penalty. Jake Allen converted. The second half was scoreless as both sides struggled in the deteriorating conditions.

The victory was a special one for Dan Retter, who reached an incredible 400 appearances for the Chiefs. Retter was presented with a personalised SRFC shirt by club chairman Matt Barrett, director John Dunn and 1st XV captain Haydon Down.

Sidmouth 2nds suffered a 31-16 defeat at New Cross, the Colts were beaten 29-18 at Newton Abbot and the ladies’ game at Cullompton was cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch.

On Saturday, the Over 35s entertain Exeter Engineers at the Blackmore Field kicking off at 2pm. The Quins travel to Newton Abbot and the Colts are at Crediton.

The future at Blackmore was given an extra boost over the weekend, as juniors Jerry Min, Henry Tanner and Jack Bell from the Sidmouth U16 squad were all selected to represent Exeter Chiefs Academy DPP East in a match against Cornwall. Congratulations to the three boys and the whole Sidmouth RFC set-up.